Two new Mission 500 Advisory Board members offer ways to help

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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Mission 500, a nonprofit organization that serves the needs of children and communities in crisis in the U.S., announced two new members to its Advisory Board — Sarah Flanagan, publisher, Security Systems News, and Janet Fenner, chief marketing officer, Intelligent Security Systems (ISS).

Sarah Flanagan, who recently rejoined the SSN team, was asked to join the Mission 500 Advisory Board to volunteer alongside Fenner and other industry professionals. When asked how she felt about serving, Flanagan said: “To be asked to be on the board of Mission 500 at ISC East was a total and very welcome surprise at the SIA Awards Dinner. When Vince Galdi from LRG asked me, I said ‘yes’ before even asking what it entailed! That tells you something about how much I believe in the cause. I’ve supported them on my own and look forward to doing more.” 

Fenner told SSN that she has recently moved to Mission 500’s Advisory Board after being involved with Mission 500 on the Executive Board for several years. “This new position represents the ability for me to engage at a higher level and help contribute to Mission 500’s goals. I am excited to contribute ideas and help execute future endeavors on the Advisory Board, but most importantly, I look to further heighten awareness within the industry as to what Mission 500 is looking to accomplish.” 

On the heels of the Giving Tuesday, a global generosity movement encouraging people to help others through the gift of time, donations, goods or voices, it is important to realize the vast number of charities that exist, all to do one simple thing — help. The security industry — friends and foes; partners and competitors, all with their hearts in the right place — joined together years ago to support Mission 500 and have been stepping up ever since. 

As the security industry continues to grow, here’s what newbies and those security companies considering joining in to help Mission 500 needs to know. The organization:

  • Advocates for children living in severe poverty; 
  • Inspires and acts as a catalyst in the security industry for excellence in corporate social responsibility;
  • Mobilizes volunteers and resources to make a tangible difference for children and families living in poverty;
  • Received their 501c3 status in 2016; and
  • Produced 40,000+ meals, assembled care packs filled with essential hygiene items for 5,000 families, and distributed more than 13,000 book bags filled with school supplies to students attending Title One schools since 2016 in partnership with the security industry. 

To accomplish such amazing acts of kindness, Mission 500 has a volunteer-led Executive Board and Advisory Board comprised of security industry professionals. 

Both Fenner and Flanagan are full of new, unique ideas when it comes to raising money for Mission 500, but both have their favorite already-established event. For Fenner, it’s the softball game. “It is when the industry plays together as one for charities like the FDNY Burn Camp, Habitat for Humanity and local children in need. It is so much fun and rewarding to be a part of something so great!” 

For Flanagan, it’s The Security 5K, a 5K run or 2K walk that takes place every year at ISC West in Las Vegas. “We’re so pleased at how much the Mission 500 5K race, that was the brainchild of Tim Purpura, has grown,” Flanagan said. “How many runners we have there at 7:30 am on day TWO of the show is an amazing testament to this industry’s commitment to making things better for kids in need.” 

As far as those new, unique ideas, Flanagan gave Fenner her props for coming up with a “Get Out of Jail Free” card to be used at the 5K. “If runners or walkers can’t make the race, they donate 50 bucks and are off the hook. I can see that being a popular thing.” 

Another easy way to support Mission 500 is to shop on smile.amazon.com, choose Mission 500 as your charity of choice and Amazon will donate .5 percent of your total purchases back to the organization. Both ladies offered some more creative ways companies and people can get started in supporting Mission 500 right now. 

“I would like to see companies within the security industry adopt yearly social corporate responsibility programs with the help of Mission 500,” Fenner said, additionally offering the following ideas: 

  • Create a team for the 5K run/2K walk at ISC West;
  • Set aside 5 minutes at each trade show to help Mission 500 pack backpacks;
  • Volunteer during yearly events;
  • Make a personal contribution as a “Friend of Mission 500;” and
  • Lobby your company to take part in corporate social responsibility programs.

Flanagan invites everyone to join the SSN team in supporting Mission 500. “Our team of editors and sales have been active participants in house builds as well as hygiene kids and backpacks, and of course, the softball game in the summer in New Jersey,” Flanagan said. “We plan to continue that tradition and I’m so proud of the efforts of our team,” admitting that she personally can’t throw a ball to save her life, but give her a tennis racquet and ball, and she’s all in. (Hmmm, do I see a Mission 500 tennis match in the future? We shall see.)

“We can all do a little something — even a $5 donation goes a long way in providing resources to the children in the U.S. who are in need, or volunteer to help at one of our events,” Fenner said. “Every effort makes a difference. One thing you’ll discover, like I did, is that crazy awesome feeling is very contagious. Let’s make it go viral together. Like our [Mission 500’s] slogan says, ‘Together we can make a difference.’”